Unity Engine Price Change Sparks Game Developer Outcry

Unity has announced plans to charge developers every time someone installs their games

Handoyo Saputra | September 18, 2023

Unity

Unity Engine, a popular development tool among small studios, is now under scrutiny. Well-known indie games like Among Us, Cuphead, and Cult of the Lamb have all been created using Unity Engine.

However, since its owners announced plans to introduce a new pricing strategy, many game developers are considering abandoning this technology and threatening delays in the release of new games.

Game engine is a set of tools that control elements such as animation and audio, serving as the foundation or framework for a game.

While it's possible to build an engine from scratch, it's a complex process, so companies often use ready-made versions to save time. Unity, along with Epic's Unreal Engine, is one of the most commonly used examples.

Game Developer Fees

Unity Corporation has announced plans to charge its customers each time someone installs a game based on this engine.

They claim that these fees will only apply after a certain number of downloads, but it could reach as high as $0.20 at the highest level. This decision has sparked quick and angry reactions from the gaming industry.

Garry Newman, the creator of the popular Garry's Mod and founder of Facepunch Studios, said this move made many people furious. He expressed, "It's like Adobe charging Photoshop users every time someone views their image."

Developers have also accused the company of betraying their trust and raised questions about how these fees will be implemented. Unity released a statement to explain some conditions regarding these fees and insisted that "most developers" would not be affected.

However, the statement also faced heavy criticism. Some leading independent developers threatened to stop using Unity if the company persisted with its plans, which would impact current projects.

Game Developer Protests

Innersloth, the creators of Among Us, said they would delay new content and features to migrate the game to a new engine. Meanwhile, Mega Crit, the makers of Slay the Spire, revealed they had spent the last two years working on a new game in Unity. However, they stated that they would switch to a different engine if these changes were not reversed.

Unity Engine is also used to create mega-hits like Pokemon Go and Genshin Impact, but it remains unclear whether these games will be affected. Niantic, the developer of Pokemon Go, said they could not comment on the situation at this time.

Apart from criticism from game developers, Unity has also faced "potential threats" serious enough to force the company to close two of its offices and cancel CEO meetings.

Unity's Apology

Now, Unity has issued an official apology and explained that they will revise the announced pricing policy. Here is Unity's official statement:

We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of days. Thank you for your honest and critical feedback.

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